An 18-year-old Ohio teen, who has been accused of live-streaming the rape of her 17-year-old friend on Periscope, has claimed she was trying to record the assault as evidence. Marina Lonina, a student at New Albany High School, outside Columbus, pleaded not guilty to multiple charges including rape, kidnapping, sexual battery and pandering sexual matter involving a minor.
Lonina's lawyer argued she took the footage as evidence and even briefly tried to help the victim. Her claims that she was helpless has, however, been countered by the prosecution who say she had intentions of committing this crime as they found nude photographs of the victim on her phone clicked a day before the "alleged rape."
"The victim and the two defendants were socialising and at some point in the evening it is alleged that Gates forced sexual intercourse with the victim and Lonina started Periscoping (live-streaming in real time) the sexual assault," the prosecutor's statement said.
Lonina and the victim, both American citizens of Russian descent, apparently met the accused Raymond Gates, 29, at a mall for the first time just the day before the rape. He is reported to have bought them a bottle of vodka and encouraged them to meet him the next day. Police say they did not rule out the possibility that Lonina may have known Gates prior to what she claims was their first meeting.
Meanwhile, Franklin County prosecutor Ron O'Brien commenting on the horrible incident said, "People need to know and understand that the use of a smartphone to video events can constitute serious felony crimes. Technology has moved us into an area that is sometimes beyond belief. They should think twice before they use their smartphones to either photograph or video anything that's of a sexual nature."
Periscope is a live-streaming app that Twitter owns. It is difficult to stop any live-stream once it has been uploaded, and copies can also be made of the video. Representatives for Twitter and Periscope have not issued any statement on the issue.